For meeting planners and event attendees, resort properties deliver a place where people can get down to business but also enjoy some getaway downtime. In addition to offering meeting and conference space, resorts provide on-site restaurants and bars, entertainment and activities — typically near to nature or right on the water.
From upstate New York to the central Midwest, from northern California oceanfront properties to Southern lakeside resorts, these destinations allow meeting groups to meet, eat, stay and play.
Bolton Landing, New York
The Sagamore sits on a private, 70-acre island on New York’s Lake George, about 60 miles north of Albany. The main hotel dates to the 1880s, but the resort has evolved and expanded over the decades to meet travelers’ modern demands — without losing its historic feel.
“We’re so much more than just a meeting facility, and we’re so much more than just a leisure resort,” said Lori Rehm, director of sales and conferences. “We have so much to offer and so many options; we really hit all the different targets within a group.”
Today, in addition to 137 guest rooms in the historic hotel, the resort boasts seven lodge buildings and the Hermitage Building, with 12 luxury suites, as well as vacation condos. Excluding the condos, the resort has 375 guest rooms for groups.
However, the Sagamore’s “sweet spot” for meeting groups is usually in the 125- to 200-person range. The resort’s conference center offers nearly 16,000 square feet of function space, as well as a dedicated banquet kitchen, a private outdoor terrace and an event lawn. The 12,000-square-foot event center is an exhibit hall that can accommodate up to 100 exhibit booths.
Shelving Rock Terrace “is extremely popular,” Rehm said. The permanent lakeside, climate-controlled tent can be as casual or as elegant as planners want. The space accommodates up to 200 reception guests “right on the water, and that’s why people are here,” she said.
Groups often use the resort’s cruise boat, the Morgan, which runs complimentary sightseeing tours during the day and is available at night for private dinner cruises for up to 80 passengers.
Planners can also charter Adirondack Excursions’ 40-foot houseboat for on-the-water meetings for up to 25 people, and attendees can enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, tennis and pickleball.
Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa
The Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa sits in the northwestern corner of Illinois, wrapped in 6,800 acres of rolling hills, gentle valleys and a blanket of trees. And one of its main attractions as a meeting venue is its space and not only indoor function space; “we also utilize space outside in the resort,” said Colin Sanderson, director of sales and marketing.
The resort recently expanded Point Patio, a deck overlooking the 225-acre lake; it can now hold up to 150 guests for events. During the pandemic, Eagle Ridge also began holding Meetings on the Green: The resort will choose one of its four golf courses, and “we’ll actually have a meeting out on the golf course; it’s pretty cool,” Sanderson said.
Eagle Ridge offers 15,000 square feet of indoor event space with nine function rooms; they include the 5,300-square-foot Eagle Ballroom, the 3,300-square-foot Galena Room, three boardrooms and three private dining rooms.
When it comes to space, groups also like the variety of available lodging accommodations. The resort offers 80 guest rooms in its main lodge and adjacent Courtyard building, but it also has 200 rental homes that range from one-bedroom condos to expansive conference homes that groups can use for overnight stays, team-building activities or meetings held while lounging around in a living room setting.
Meeting groups can play golf or foot golf, try cardboard sled building or blindfolded pizza-making. Eagle Ridge also partners with the Shenandoah Riding Center for horseback riding and Long Hollow Canopy Tours for zip lining and aerial obstacle course experiences.
Roanoke, West Virginia
The Stonewall Resort sits on a crescent-curved peninsula that reaches into the waters of Stonewall Jackson Lake, a machine-made lake on the West Fork River.
The resort is in Stonewall Jackson State Park near the town of Roanoke, West Virginia, about midway between Morgantown and Charleston. With 1,900 acres of state parkland and a marina, the resort is an outdoor lover’s paradise that also offers a 15,000-square-foot, IACC-certified conference center.
The Stonewall Resort’s meeting space is on two levels in one section of the Adirondack-style lodge, allowing for concurrent meetings that don’t cross paths. Groups often use the nearly 4,200-square-foot divisible interior ballroom with high ceilings; the 760-square-foot Oak Boardroom and Lightburn’s Restaurant both deliver expansive views of the lake, rolling hills and the surrounding forest.
Nestled in the state park, Stonewall Resort offers plenty of outdoor spaces such as patios, event lawns and a fire pit where guests can make s’mores. Planners can also arrange outdoor meetings, sporting clay competitions, fishing charters, trail hikes and scavenger hunts complete with boat rides and golf carts.
At the marina, groups can rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and more to get on the water. The resort’s excursion boat offers hourlong scenic cruises every evening from April through October. Meeting attendees can hop on the evening cruise to enjoy the scenery, or planners can reserve the boat for private cruises and receptions for up to 100 people.
Seascape Beach Resort
Seascape Beach Resort sits on a bluff overlooking Monterey Bay in Aptos, California, just down the coast from Santa Cruz.
Groups gather at the resort for its beachfront location, ocean views and outdoor access. Guests can meander down the walking path that leads to the beach or use the resort’s complimentary golf cart service. There, meeting planners can hold practically any kind of beach event on Seascape’s private section of a 17-mile stretch of beach, without having to go through city permitting.
The 220-room hotel features 17,000 square feet of meeting space, with 17 conference rooms, each with ocean views and natural light. The 4,000-square-foot Seascape Ballroom can be split into three smaller spaces, and groups often book the 1,200-square-foot Bayview Room on the third floor because it has a full balcony.
In front of the resort, the Bluff is an outdoor space perched on a bluff; its panoramic bay views make it popular for welcome receptions and sunset dinners.
The resort has beach bonfires every night, and groups can also arrange making s’mores and clambakes on the beach. Planners can host luaus at the Bluff or the Island, a human-made lagoon with bridges leading to an island with palm trees, a lawn and a sandy beach.
The resort partners with team-building programs to offer archery, volleyball, soccer and obstacle courses on the beach. Groups can also take classes to learn wine blending and how to build a succulent garden or sign up for paddleboarding or surfing lessons.
Camden on the Lake
Lake Ozark, Missouri
The Camden on the Lake Resort is a waterfront resort that covers over a quarter of a mile of shoreline on Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The property overlooks Toad Cove and connects to the neighboring Horny Toad Entertainment Complex, home of H.Toad’s Bar and Grill, which is open year-round and offers seasonal live entertainment, both indoors and on the outdoor lakeside stage.
The Camden on the Lake Resort was originally built as a luxury condo resort, but it was converted into a hotel that today has 116 guest suites and studios, a spa and a marina.
The resort also offers 19,000 square feet of meeting space. The 6,600-square-foot Grand Ballroom can be divided into three rooms, and the 6,000-square-foot Harbor Ballroom opens onto an almost-wraparound deck. The 3,200-square-foot Lakeside Room can seat up to 240 for banquets that also dish up lake views.
At the resort’s marina, attendees can rent boats and jet skis, and groups can reserve water taxis for private dock-to-dock service or arrange guided fishing charters.